Ekso Bionics’ EksoNR is the first exoskeleton device approved for rehabilitation for MS patients
Ekso Bionics Holdings Inc. has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to commercialize its EksoNR robotic exoskeleton for use in patients with multiple sclerosis.
The EksoNR is the first exoskeleton device to be FDA-approved for rehabilitation use for MS patients, the company said. It was approved for stroke and spinal cord injury rehabilitation in 2016 and acquired brain injury (ABI) in 2020. It is also CE marked and available in Europe.
“As a leader in wearable robotic solutions for medical rehabilitation, we are committed to maximizing patient access to our technology,” said Ekso Bionics Chairman and CEO Steven Sherman. “As the indications for use have expanded to include MS, the EksoNR has the potential to help significantly more patients and improve patient mobility. We are excited to see the device benefiting MS patients as it provides much-needed rehabilitation solutions, as well as for patients suffering from stroke, spinal cord injury and acquired brain injury.”
Unlike other exoskeletons, which are designed as aids and provide 100% of the power needed to walk, the Ekso NR is designed to be used in rehabilitation to help neurorehabilitation patients “walk out of the device and back to their feet.” community,” the company said.
Programmed with a range of movements including weight shifting, marching, stepping and tapping on a platform, split stance and squats, the 60-pound suit provides the physical therapist with visual and auditory cues to assist gently. It also has automated or therapist-programmed settings that provide varying amounts of strength support, and all session data (walking time, distance, and speed) is automatically synced to a cloud-based dashboard.
MS is an autoimmune neurological disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the central nervous system, which can disrupt communication between the body and mind and lead to loss of bodily function and mobility. While there is currently no cure for the disease, medication management and physical therapy can help reduce its effects.
Physical therapy can help strengthen weakened muscles, improve range of motion and slow the progression of MS, and the EksoNR helps therapists work with patients’ brain plasticity and retrain their muscles and brain to maintain lost mobility or get it back, the company said.
The suit is especially useful for MS patients with severe symptoms because it allows therapists to program the dosage of the steps patients are given, reducing the threat of overexertion, which can lead to disease development, Ekso said.
“MS patients using EksoNR exoskeletons are kept informed of their progress and must actively participate in the process to succeed,” the company said. “This direct engagement and positive progress reports can have a profound psychological effect on patients, increasing their chances of improving outcomes and regaining lost strength and mobility, in addition to offering hope.”